This Old House

A stone marker at 9th and Waco marks the original location of what is believed to be the first home in Wichita. The spot along the Arkansas River was home to Darius S. Munger.

Munger was born in Chautauqua Co., N.Y., on August 21, 1812. He moved to Chicago in 1835, Wisconsin in 1837; Ohio in 1848; Missouri in 1850; and Topeka, in 1860.  He landed in Wichita in May of 1868.

Upon his arrival in Wichita, Mr. Munger lived in a tent.  He built the 1 ½ story house between 1868 and 1869.  The house was built from cottonwood and walnut trees using clam shells, sand, water, and buffalo hair to create a foundation and act as plaster.

Over the years the house served as a hotel, justice hall, community center, and post office and it hosted the first service of the Episcopal Church. 

During his life in Wichita, Mr. Munger was appointed Justice of the Peace, postmaster and police judge, a job he held until the time of his death. This was the home he shared with his wife, Julia.

The house was relocated three times.

In 1874 W.C. Woodman, Wichita’s first banker, purchased the Munger House. Woodman built a Victorian House called “Lakeside Mansion” around the Munger House in 1875.  The original house was “rediscovered” when Lakeside was torn down in the 1940’s.

Lakeside Mansion
Courtesy: Old Cowtown Museum

During the late 1940’s the Wichita Chapter of the daughters of the American Revolution took over the cabin and donated it to Cowtown in the early 1950’s. It still proudly stands near the banks of the Arkansas River.

For several years Mr. Munger suffered from a spinal issue, which led to his death. He died December 5, 1879, at the age of 67. He is buried at Wichita’s Highland Cemetery.

At the time of Julia’s death, the Wichita Eagle reported she, “was the oldest woman resident of the city.” She died on March 18, 1894 at the age of 80.

The Munger House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.​​

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